NEW Ausdrill
Technicians operating the photon assay unit

Gold mining companies will shortly be able to access extremely fast turnarounds in mineral analysis as a result of new world-first technology.

Drill and blast specialist Ausdrill’s subsidiary MinAnalytical has recently installed a Chrysos photon assay machine at its facility in Canning Vale, Western Australia.

The technology, developed by CSIRO, slashes the time it takes to analyse a drilling sample from up to 48 hours, to less than 10 minutes.

The photon assay process combines speed with a high degree of reliability, and is an alternative to the traditional fire assay process.

It represents a chemistry-free approach to material analysis that gives accurate results in minutes. It also delivers higher accuracy than fire assays, with significantly reduced sample preparation.

A further benefit is that the new process enables the sample to be tested repeatedly if required – unlike fire assay, which involves the destruction of the sample.

“For Australian mining companies, this technology delivers such a fast turnaround that has never been available to the market before, and does so with less sample preparation and in a non-destructive fashion,” says Ausdrill’s COO – Australia, Andrew Broad.

“This opens up a whole range of possibilities for our clients to review their processes to take advantage of the accessibility to results, which ultimately will deliver cost savings to their business.

“This is game-changing technology, and it has certainly generated a lot of interest in the industry, with several major companies supplying samples for the validation process that we are currently working through,” Broad says.

While gold is currently the focus for the technology, it may be used to analyse other minerals in the future.

Chrysos Corporation was formed in 2016 in partnership between CSIRO and RFC Ambrian for the purpose of commercialising the Photon Assay technology.

Ausdrill has invested in Chrysos Corporation and is assisting in commercialising the company’s technology.

Ausdrill, through its subsidiary MinAnalytical, is the first company in the world to offer the technology to mining companies. The first machine has the capacity to analyse up to 50 000 samples per month, with a further commitment made to install the next two units into Kalgoorlie.